by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

At 11 a.m. today, Friday, July 17, Ventura County Public Health released an announcement that effective immediately bars, breweries and wineries can reopen outdoor facilities. 

Bars, pubs, brewpubs, breweries and other similar businesses with licenses allowing alcohol consumption on their premises can open their outdoor areas but are still restricted in only being able to sell alcohol with meals. The statement released by the county states, “Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.”

The order allows wineries and wine tasting businesses to open outdoor operations, even if they do not have food service. 

Outdoor and indoor operations of bars, pubs and breweries and the like were closed on July 13 by the state due to increases in cases of coronavirus and some hospitals feeling the pinch of increased numbers. Last week Ventura County had to adhere to state orders closing several types of businesses including all indoor dining. 

While Ventura County Medical Center officials said last week their Emergency and Intensive Care Units were full, Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura still has capacity. 

“We’re not full, although quite busy with COVID,” said Dr. Stan Frochtzwajg M.D., chief medical officer with Community Memorial Health System, via email on July 16 to the VCReporter. He said the hospital has “space and staffing currently for patients in both areas [ER and ICU] and throughout the hospital.  We have created and are creating more space to expand for a potential surge of patients going forward.”

VCPH reiterated that bars, pubs, brewpubs, breweries, wineries and wine tasing rooms must comply with both state orders and guidance, but also with all local requirements including: 

(a) Only members of the same household may sit together at a single table,

(b) The maximum time a patron may be on the premises is 1 and ½ hours, and

(c) Bars must be closed to the public between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

The county order is online at: https://vcportal.ventura.org/covid19/docs/2020-07-16_VC_Public_Health_Officer_Order.pdf

Read the State guidance at: https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-restaurants-bars.pdf